With advances in voice-enabled technologies, voice search is widely touted as the new frontier in SEO and SEO services need to act on it fast. With more dedicated smart devices, search capabilities are going beyond just keyword query-based search. Pop fiction has often popularised voice search from Iron Man’s Jarvis to the AI bot in Will Smith’s iRobot.

Smart device voice search users have started to be comfortable with using voice search features, and are also becoming satisfied with the results. Voice search has been around since the early 2000s and is only now starting to become adopted by the mainstream, mainly in part due to smart devices and Personal Digital Assistants (Cortana/Siri) that have made the technology more available in devices that many people already have.

So who is using voice search?

According to Google, about 41% of adults and 55% of teenagers use voice search. Interestingly, men are using more voice search features than women and across the board, it is still being used for simple tasks such as making a phone call.

By 2020, according to ComScore, voice searches will account for approximately half of all searches. In addition, 30 percent of all search sessions will be conducted without the use of a screen by 2020.

Smart speakers are (and will be) at the forefront of voice search. It’s estimated the number of smart speakers in America alone will reach 21.4 million by 2020, up from 7.4 million in 2017, according to Activate. The deeper the penetration of smart speakers, the higher the demand for voice search.

Voice Search on SEO

Voice search for long-tail keywords

As Google and other search engines shift towards long-tail keywords, it is no strange fact to realize that voice search is also being ranked in Google. A voice search is conversational in nature and will be more of a phrase or sentence. With changes in algorithm, data is clear that voice search on average is longer and Google is starting to drive traffic toward more specific, less general terms.

Voice search for local marketing

According to a study by Internet Trends, 22% of voice searches will be for local searches to find products or services in a user’s close proximity. Local search is a tough environment to compete in, and if voice evolves in this direction this might genuinely see a new frontier for local and small businesses to tap into and make themselves heard, literally!

Voice search optimization to promote featured snippets

The third area of benefit from voice search is featured snippets. For the last 12 months or more, Google has been striving to draw focus onto these bite-size nuggets of clear, concise, query-solving goodness. While originally this was thought to be only for the benefit of mobile users, it could also help users find information through voice. Also, with the increasing sales of voice assistants, more and more shoppers will use voice to make purchases.

Businesses need to start focusing on voice-based services, create content can voice bots can read and inform users about their search result. There is still a way to go but the trends toward voice search are already getting set.